Desirée Cormier Smith is the Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice. Previously, she served as a Senior Advisor in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. Special Representative Cormier also worked at the Open Society Foundations as the Senior Policy Advisor for Africa, Europe, and Eurasia. In that role, she led the global foundation’s U.S. advocacy strategy and execution on a wide range of human rights issues in these dynamic and diverse issues. From 2015 until 2020, she was the Senior Director with Albright Stonebridge Group’s Africa Practice, where she advised and assisted private and social sector clients on growth strategies across the African continent.
Ms. Cormier began her State Department career as a Foreign Service Officer with assignments in Mexico, South Africa, and Washington, DC. Ms. Cormier is the recipient of four Department of State Meritorious Honor Awards and the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Undergraduate Fellowship. She is an alumnus of the International Career Advancement Program and is a member of the 2019 class of Next Generation National Security Leaders Fellowship at the Center for a New American Security. She was honored by New America as a 2020 Black American National Security and Foreign Policy Next Generation Leader and is a 2020 alumnus of the New Leadership Council Washington, DC chapter. Ms. Cormier currently serves on the Advisory Council of Global Kids, an educational non-profit aimed to inspire underserved youth to pursue careers in public policy and global affairs, and on the Advisory Board of Shea Yeleen, a social enterprise dedicated to empowering women in West Africa and the U.S. Ms. Cormier is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ms. Cormier holds a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from Stanford University and a M.A. in Public Policy from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is proficient in Spanish and French.
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